New mentor, fresh hopes

New mentor, fresh hopes

New mentor, fresh hopes

Delhi Daredevils have been the perennial underachievers of Indian Premier League. They have rapidly shuffled the squads, the captains, even loosened the purse strings, but it didn’t change their fortunes. By roping in former Indian captain Rahul Dravid as their mentor, the Delhi team would be gearing up yet again for the elusive trophy.

Daredevils have retained 14 players this year, including former India pacer Zaheer Khan, who has been appointed the captain. He is the 10th player to captain the side.

The team, this year, didn’t go for anyone on the marquee player list and went about picking up a blend of youth and experience. They, however, did throw a surprise by splurging 8.5 crore on Delhi left-arm spinner Pawan Negi. And no one would have been more gladdened than Daredevils when Carlos Braithwaite tonked those four sixes off Ben Stokes in the final of World Twenty20.

Brathwaite will be donning the crucial role of an allrounder of whom Daredevils have done a healthy shopping this season. Albie Morkel, Chris Morris and Negi are among others in allrounders’ role.

Their presence would beef up the strong looking Delhi batting that has Shreyas Iyer, Mayank Aggarwal and Sanju Samson, all three doing well on the domestic circuit apart from South Africans Quinton De Kock and JP Duminy. Shreyas and Mayank had opened for Daredevils for the first time last year and the experience would come handy. Shreyas particularly impressed with his free-flowing strokemaking.

The bowling looks strong as well with Zaheer leading the likes of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mohammad Shami and Morris. They also have the leg-spinning duo of Amit Mishra and Imran Tahir, and left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem. However, it is the fitness of Zaheer and Shami that puts a seed of doubt in an otherwise good looking pace–attack.

The addition of India’s under-19 World Cup star and Delhi batsman Rishabh Pant, Mahipal Lormor, and Khaleel Ahmed has increased the options. Delhi's best show in the league was witnessed in 2008, 2009 and 2012 seasons when they reached the semifinals before going downhill in the next three seasons. They had finished seventh last season.

Squad: Zaheer Khan (captain), JP. Duminy, Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Morris, Joel Paris, Sam Billings, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Akhil Herwadkar, Chama Milind, Karun Nair, Mahipal Lomror, Pawan Negi, Pawan Suyal, Pratyush Singh, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson and Syed Khaleel Ahmed.

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